OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- STATE ‑- GOVERNOR ‑- EFFECTIVE DATE OF LAW WHERE LEGISLATURE OVERRIDES VETO
Where a bill which is subject to referendum is vetoed by the governor and that veto is later overridden by the legislature, the act will not become effective until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which the veto was overridden; accordingly, chapter 1, Laws of 1973, 2nd Ex. Sess. (House Bill No. 356), which changes the date of Veterans' Day to November 11, will not take effect until December 14, 1973.
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September 28, 1973
Honorable Daniel J. Evans
Governor, State of Washington
Olympia, Washington 98504
Cite as: AGLO 1973 No. 97
Dear Governor Evans:
By letter previously acknowledged you have requested our opinion on the following series of questions relating to the legislature's recent action overriding your earlier veto of House Bill No. 356, an amendment to RCW 1.16.050 which sets the dates for various state legal holidays.
"1. When does House Bill 356, as reenacted by the Legislature, take effect?
"2. What is the legal holiday date of Veterans' Day 1973?
"3. Assuming that the legal holiday date of Veterans' Day 1973 is the fourth Monday in October (October 22, 1973), can the Governor by executive order fix November 11, 1973, and remove October 22, 1973, as the legal holiday for state employees?
"4. In the event the Governor fixes November 11, 1973, and removes October 22, 1973, as the legal holiday for state employees, are state employees nevertheless entitled to a legal holiday on the fourth Monday in October (October 22) as set forth in RCW 1.16.050?"
We answer these questions in the manner set forth in our analysis.
House Bill No. 356 was originally passed by the [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] legislature last April, during its first special 1973 session. It proposed to amend § 1, chapter 51, Laws of 1927 (RCW 1.16.050), as last amended by § 1, chapter 11, Laws of 1969, so as to change the dates of two state legal holidays ‑ Memorial Day from the last Monday in May to May 30, and Veterans' Day from the fourth Monday in October to November 11. See, § 1, House Bill No. 356, the full text of which (in bill form) reads as follows:
"The following are legal holidays: Sunday; the first day of January, commonly called New Year's Day; the twelfth day of February, being the anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln; the third Monday of February, being celebrated as the anniversay of the birth of George Washington; the ((last Monday of May)) thirtieth day of May, commonly known as Memorial Day; the fourth day of July, being the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence; the first Monday in September, to be known as Labor Day; the second Monday of October, to be known as Columbus Day; the ((fourth Monday of October)) eleventh day of November, to be known as Veterans' Day; the fourth Thursday in November, to be known as Thanksgiving Day; the twenty-fifth day of December, commonly called Christmas Day; the day on which any general election is held throughout the state; and any day designated by public proclamation of the chief executive of the state as a legal holiday.
"Whenever any legal holiday, other than Sunday, falls upon a Sunday, the following Monday shall be a legal holiday.
"If any of the above specified state legal holidays are also federal legal holidays but observed on different dates, only the state legal holidays shall be recognized as a paid legal holiday for employees of the state and its political subdivisions."
This bill did not contain an emergency clause but, instead, its only other provision, § 2, proposed to amend RCW 42.04.060 as follows:
"All state elective and appointive officers shall keep their offices open for the transaction of business from eight o'clock a.m. to five o'clock p.m. of each business day from Monday through Friday, state legal holidays excepted. On Saturday, such offices may be [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] closed.
"This section shall not apply to the courts of record of this state or to their officers nor to the office of the attorney general and the lieutenant governor."
When this bill reached your desk for approval or disapproval you vetoed it in its entirety on April 26, 1973 ‑ exercising the power vested in you by Article III, § 12 of the state Constitution. Thereafter, as is required by this provision in such cases, the bill was returned to its house of origin ‑ following which, during the recently adjourned second extraordinary session of the 43rd legislature, your veto was overridden by both houses. The first question you have asked is when, under these circumstances, this measure will become effective.
Article III, § 12 of the Constitution, supra, provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
". . . If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the members present shall agree to pass the bill it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present, if shall become a law; . . ." (Emphasis supplied.)
However, this provision must be read in conjunction with Article II, § 1 (Amendment 7) which provides, in subsection (b), that:
". . . . The second power reserved by the people is the referendum, and it may be ordered on any act, bill, law, or any part thereof passed by the legislature, except such laws as may be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institutions, either by petition signed by the required percentage of the legal voters, or by the legislature as other bills are enacted. . . ."
Article II, § 41 (Amendment 26) of the Constitution then states that:
[[Orig. Op. Page 4]]
"No act, law, or bill subject to referendum shall take effect until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which it was enacted. . . ." (Emphasis supplied.)
From the first of these two provisions it will readily be seen that House Bill No. 356, because of your original veto, did not become a law until that veto was overridden during the second extraordinary session. Accord, 50 Am.Jur., Statutes, § 504, and authorities cited therein. And from the second it will further be seen that, not having contained an emergency clause or otherwise being demonstrably ". . . necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety . . ." or for the ". . . support of state government and its existing institutions . . ." this measure cannot be considered a law which is not subject to the referendum. Accordingly, under the third and final constitutional provision above quoted it necessarily follows that the effective date of House Bill No. 356 will be midnight on December 14, 1973 ‑ that is, ninety days after adjournment of the second extraordinary session of the 43rd legislature on September 15 of this year. Accord, AGLO 1973 No. 63 [[to Richard O. White, Code Reviser, Statute Law Committee on June 8, 1973 an Informal Opinion AIR-73563]].
Your second question, inquiring as to the legal holiday date of Veterans' Day, 1973, is readily answerable on the basis of the foregoing analysis. Because House Bill No. 356, now chapter 1, Laws of 1973, 2nd Ex. Sess., will not be effective under Midnight on December 14, 1973, it is obvious that the amendatory language thereof changing the date of Veterans' Day to "the eleventh day of November" will likewise not be effective until more than a month after that date of this year. In the meantime RCW 1.16.050 as it existed prior to being amended by this act will remain in effect and provide for a state legal holiday on
". . . the fourth Monday of October, to be known as Veterans' Day; . . ."
For this reason it follows that the legal holiday date of Veterans' Day, 1973, is the fourth Monday in October, that is October 22, 1973.
Your third question is governed by the language of RCW 1.16.050, supra, itself. That language, not affected by House Bill No. 356, reads as follows:
[[Orig. Op. Page 5]]
"The following are legal holidays: . . . and any day designated by public proclamation of the chief executive of the state as a legal holiday. . . ." (Emphasis supplied.)
The portion of the statute omitted is, of course, a listing within its body of all of the state legal holidays which have been designated as such by the legislature ‑ among them Veterans' Day. By virtue of the ensuing language just quoted, it is clear that the governor has the power to add to that list by designating as an additional state legal holiday any day which he designates by public proclamation. It is likewise clear, however, that those listed days, including Veterans' Day (whether on the fourth Monday of October or on November 11) are to be celebrated as state legal holidays independent of any action by the governor. Accordingly, in answer to your third question, we conclude that while you may by public proclamation fix November 11, 1973, as a state legal holiday in addition to October 22, 1973, you may not additionally remove that later date from its present statutory holiday status by such a proclamation.
From this it further follows, in accordance with the present provisions of RCW 42.04.060, supra, that regardless of any action taken by you with respect to the proclamation of a holiday on November 11, 1973, state employees will be entitled to a legal holiday on the fourth Monday of October (October 22) in 1973, as presently set forth in RCW 1.16.050, supra.
We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
MALACHY R. MURPHY
Deputy Attorney General